NZME celebrates international recognition of innovative Te Rito journalism training programme

New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) is celebrating the win of a highly esteemed award at the 2023 INMA Global Media Awards, hosted in New York, as well as a second and third placing, and one honourable mention.

The first award – Best Innovation in Newsroom Transformation – recognises the ground-breaking collaboration between four media organisations including NZME, Whakaata Māori, Discovery NZ/Newshub and the Pacific Media Network, to address a shortage of diverse voices in Aotearoa’s newsrooms.

In other award categories, NZME’s Ukraine Crisis Appeal fundraiser took out third place in the Best Public Relations or Community Service Campaign, its new VIVA Premium platform was second in Best Subscription Niche Product, and NZME received an honourable mention for Best Idea to Grow Advertising Sales.

Launched at the beginning of last year, the Te Rito Journalism Project develops budding journalists from different backgrounds and ethnic make-ups through a one-year training programme covering all facets of journalism including digital, print, radio and broadcast television. Throughout the programme, cadets work and train in newsrooms across the country and are mentored by experienced newsroom journalists and operators.  

NZME Acting Managing Editor, Murray Kirkness, says to win a major global award for the Te Rito programme is a huge achievement and is testament to the talent observed in the first cohort. 

“This award recognises the pure talent of these emerging journalists, who have made the programme the great success that it is. Together, they found innovative ways to attract new audiences to news and brought their unique cultural lens to the stories they told.

“The results of the programme speak for themselves, with the 21 cadets graduates from the first cohort now working in newsrooms throughout the country, enriching the content that they share by telling the stories that reflect our multicultural nation,” says Kirkness.  

NZME Head of Cultural Partnerships, Lois Turei says she is very proud of what has been accomplished in the first year of the programme and is looking forward to seeing its continued success.

“Throughout the course of the first cohort, we saw each cadet draw upon their broad experiences, skills and perspectives to produce and publish stories for a range of audiences, including our Māori, Samoan, Fiji-Indian, Rarotongan, Rotuman, Cambodian, disability and LGBTQIA+ communities. During their studies, our cadets published more than 630 articles generating more than 4.9 million views – a massive achievement.”

The programme has received funding by NZ On Air’s Interest Journalism Fund for a second intake, which kicked off earlier this month with 12 new cadets, of which more than half of the participants are Pasifika; hailing from Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.

NZME CEO Michael Boggs commended the effort of the cadets and those working to bring the programme to life, saying: “We’re always looking for ways to enhance, diversify and enrich our newsrooms and our media industry as a whole. The results of this programme and achieving a global award for it, showcase just what can be accomplished when the industry comes together to make transformative change.”